Southern Highlands, NSW, Australia

Saturday, July 13, 2013


After 2 nights in Cooktown we headed north west towards Weipa on the west coast of Far North Queensland. We stopped in the small town of Laura for morning tea but first we were taken to see the art of the Quinkan Region. UNESCO rate this region as one of the top ten rock art areas of the world. Aboriginal occupation of this area dates back over 37,000 years.

Our local aboriginal guide, Roy, hiked us up a steep escarpment to overhanging rock shelters. He called out to the Quinkan spirits to let them know we were coming.
"Split Rock"track led us up to the top of the hill.

 Roy explained the motifs to us. There are many of these painted caves in this area

 The view from up here was great but then we had to negotiate the descent.

 TOH did well to climb this hill in the tropical heat. He was looking forward to the coffee waiting for us at the bottom, which the driver had prepared from the bus.
Down, down, down.

 We drove into Laura and visited the Quinkan Cultural Centre.  I love the aboriginal art.

The store where we bought our ice cream had this old Austin car in their yard. It is an identical model of the first ever car to drive to the tip of Australia back in the early 1900's. How they did it is mind boggling as the roads were just dirt tracks through the bush, swamps and creeks.

Next stop was the Hann Roadhouse for lunch. These places are so isolated. It is miles and miles to the next town.

The road house had a variety of tame animals. This emu was coming at me to say hello but I wasn't too sure about that muddy beak and what he might do with it.

One of the tourists shared her ice cream with a friendly Rainbow Lorrikeet. 

Back in the bus we drove through the river and we were on our way further north.


  1. Another great stop on your tour! I love the painted caves. Very cool! The Emu and Lorikeet are cute too. Great photos, Diane!

  2. this tour gets better by the day... I love rocks and these are wonderful.. that art at the centre is beautiful.. and not sure if i could go up that rock path, maybe down...

  3. It is fascinating to see and compare your aboriginal 'rock art' with the petroglyphs and pictoglyphs found throughout the southwest of the US. I fell in love with the aboriginal art during the few days we were in Australia and brought home some lovely souvenirs.

  4. beautiful art - ancient and new. :)

  5. The rock paintings are truly amazing. They are definitely something worth seeing, even if it was a difficult hike. I love the reflections in your last photo.

  6. Those painted caves are much more interesting than the ones I saw around Ayers rock.

  7. Should I be planning my next holiday up here, as it looks amazing. I love all your photos and am enjoying your holiday story.

  8. I am mesmerized by this trip of yours. What a wonderful adventure. I can see myself behind that wheel of the old Austin. Maybe not in the early 1900s though but I would dearly love that car :) It took some brave people to make that trip. Your other photos were great. I loved looking at the Emu. I have seen them over here at the zoo and think they are extraordinary birds, but it would be lovely to see them in their own habitat.

  9. Love the cave art -- it is so amazing to me how similar the pictographs and petroglyphs are all over the world where they're found (in a bunch of places in the US where we've been and Mexico and Belize too -- and now (vicariously) in Australia. Mind boggling and lovely to think about.

    That hill looks hard -- not sure if (my) Bill could do that any more. I find it easier to do hills since I had cataract surgery -- before that I had a lot of trouble seeing where I was going on the downhills).

  10. Hi Diane,
    I've just caught up on a lot of your recent posts and the photography is simply brilliant! I was thrilled to see just how many places I've been to as well, and was wonderful to re-visit them through your lens!
    Have a lovely weekend.

  11. Oh My---loved the painted caves --and the artwork in Laura was beautiful... SO colorful!!!!!

    Looks like another great day on your tour... Wow--what a trip!


  12. Ok the art work is bloody awesome, but that car damn I like that car.

  13. I especially like the aboriginal art studio you visited Diane. Have done one of the caves outside of the Mudgee area I think it was - and likewise, it was a steep and cautious descent over rocky terrain. The ice-cream and those road-stops are much enjoyed aren't they, when you're travelling? Lovely series

  14. Wow amazing pictures, I would love to visit :)

  15. When we were on our way up to Cooktown there were lots of people travelling up to Laura for the "Races" which I understand is a really great Rodeo and Race meet -- but we didn't know about it until too late.

    When we were at Longreach at the Qantas museum there was a video of some guys replicating the trip done to open up the airstrips. They were in one of those old cars and with a support team and winches and things to pull them out of hard spots it was still an arduous trip. I can't image what it was like for those guys in the early days -- they must have been much tougher than us.

    In fact I can't imagine leaving in those remote places even today.

  16. Just been catching up on your trip Diane, gosh what a wonderful time you're've stayed in some really lovely looking accommodations along the way. The Aboriginal cave paintings would have been a highlight I'm sure, amazing to think ho long ago they were painted and how they've survived mostly because they're not exposed to the elements .